To give you an idea of the kind of day I had, I spent over two hours at the Albany DMV, waiting to get my “enhanced” driver’s license. There were maybe five people working the counters, and probably a hundred people waiting. Everybody got a ticket at the door with a letter-number combination. But not all in the same groups. For some reason, there were people with T200, some with Q400, and my group, with U800. Some had C10, and others were just 4010 and following. It was completely unknowable how soon you would be called. Why? Nobody knows.
Likely protests would have gone unrewarded, or worse, unnoticed. Even if I wanted to TAKEAKNEE, the floor was not inviting for the risk of making my pants dirty. Fortunately, I got to return home and do the puzzle, where the theme answers literally take the sound “nee” to make a new word or phrase.
Thus, 21A: Word following sing or play, which should elicit “along,” instead gets NIALONG, the well known actress from Fresh Prince and Boyz n the Hood. I’m glad I looked her up, because I got her confused with Nia Vardalos. The best of the answers was 27A: Language that’s the source of “gesundheit” (JOURNEYMAN). The original term, German, gets a complete makeover with the addition of the “nee” sound. HONEYBEE is pretty good too. And, let’s be honest, BROWNIE’s good too, because chocolate.
Silly me! I was wondering why GENEALOGY would be the answer for 34D: Study of rocks. But it’s another theme answer, hidden in the down direction (geology). Very nice!
I also liked INUKTITUT, because that’s some great crazy looking letters, and EXAMTABLE is nice as well. And this puzzle wins for best clue for old crossword standbys with 62A: It has cork and a bell (OBOE). I’ve got nothing to remember to ask Horace and Frannie about today.